Gold Prospecting and Mining
The ever-increasing demand for resources led to the essentially complete exploitation of easy-to-mine areas and left more difficult areas (such as deeper mines or very remote mines in the cold Arctic regions) for the future. The gold mining industry now has the deepest mines in the world. For example, the AngloGold Ashanti gold mine Tau Tona (a Setswana word for Great Lion) outside Carletonville, South Africa, is 3.6 km deep (Figure 1.3). The mountains of tailings in the foreground of this figure are processed (crushed to powder and chemically treated) gold-bearing rock recovered from the mine. A great deal of drilling and blasting was carried out to produce these large hills. Currently, there are plans to reach as deep as 3.9 km, where more gold-bearing rocks can be found. At these great depths, rock temperatures reach 55 C and extensive air conditioning is required for the miners in order to cool the air temperature to the bearable level of 28 C. The challenges of drilling to great...
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